For models, to be selected to have their face on a billboard in a place like New York City is nothing short of a dream come true, but for Davina Bennett, it was always a matter of time.
Bennett, the woman who already captured the hearts of the country when she won the Miss Jamaica Universe competition in 2017 and later shook the world during the Miss Universe competition as the first black contestant to don her natural hair in an afro during the pageant, has pushed herself into a new tier in her career by becoming the face of American luxury department store chain Nordstrom.
Bennett, speaking with Our Today, shared her life story, some of her future plans and her advice for other Jamaican models entering the industry.
Born and raised in Clarendon, Bennett attended Clarendon College where she was first scouted as a potential model at age 15. She joined the Pulse modelling agency after high school where she credits for teaching her a lot about the industry and preparing her for her international career pursuits.
“I started after I got scouted when I was 15 at Clarendon College, but didn’t start to take it seriously until sixth form, from there it was my time working with pulse for the next four to five years, and preparing for Miss Jamaica Universe, which I would say definitely helped my career tremendously,” said Bennett.
When asked about some of the challenges she has faced as a model from the Caribbean over the years, Bennett emotionally pointed out hair discrimination, her skin colour and a constant feeling of having to prove herself are still challenges she has to deal with.
“I’m not a nepobaby or a nepomodel (child of a major model or born with strong industry connections), I do not have any advantages and I have to work my way up and it’s been seven years, and there have been a lot of ‘no’s. I tried to get scouted in London twice and New York once,” said the model.
“I’d definitely say that, despite everything, I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given,” she continued.
When asked about her proudest achievements throughout her career, Bennett pointed out her time during the Miss Universe competitions, the billboard and her relationship with the brands L’Oréal, Macy’s, Calvin Klein, Nordstrom and Amazon as career highlights.
“Being on a billboard in NY is pretty much every model’s dream and it’s put me in a place where people can say she’s a model that’s worth knowing, it’s definitely accelerated people’s interest in me and boosted my career,” explained Bennett.
“I definitely want to come home soon. I miss my friends and my family, once I have the time I will and hopefully that’s before summer. It’s important to me to always maintain a connection to Jamaica and even my friends here [in New York] are all Jamaicans,” said Bennett when asked about plans on visiting Jamaica.
For those aspiring to break into the modelling industry, Bennett offers the following advice: “Never give up on your dreams, remain dedicated, consistent, and motivated, keep putting in the work after you hear no and have faith that the yesses will come.”
When asked about her plans in the near future, Bennett shared that she has a campaign coming later in the year.
“I can’t disclose the brand or the date as yet, but it’s a big deal for me.”
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